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A New Story About Lincoln 




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A New Story About Lincoln 







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HOW KE PARDONED A FRIEND OF 
HIS BOYHOOD 



CENATOR Mills has a story about Lincoln. It was 
told to him by a son of John L. Helm of Kentucky^ 
who lives in Corsicana. 

"Old John L. Helm," said the Senator, "was a 
famous character in Kentucky. He was, if I remember 
rightly, a Governor of the State. When the civil war 
came on Helm was a rabid secessionist. He could not 
praise the South too highly, and could not heap enough 
abuse upon the North. He was too old to go into the 
war with his sons, and remained at home, doing all he 
could to help the Confederate cause and harass the 
Yankees who invaded the State. Finally he became 
so obstreperous that the Federal General who was in 
command near Helm's home put him in prison. The 
old man's age, the high position which he occupied in 
the State, his wide connection, and especially his ina- 
bility to do any actual harm, were all pleaded in his 
extenuation and he was released. Instead of profiting 
by the warning the old man became more persistent 
than ever in his course. Once more he was clapped 
into jail. This happened two or three times, and 
finally, while he was still locked up, the matter was 
brought to the attention of the federal authorities. 
Even President Lincoln was appealed to and asked 
to commit the ardent Southerner to an indefinite con- 
finement in order that he might be curbed. 

"Lincoln listened to the statement of the case with 
more than usual interest. Then he leaned back 



and began to speak with a smile upon his face. 'You 
are talking about John L. Hehn? 4 Well, did you 
know that I used to live, when I was a boy, in Helm's 
town. He was kind to me. He seemed to like me as 
a boy and he never lost an opportunity to help me. 
He seemed to think,' said Lincoln, w'th another of his 
almost pathetic smiles, 'that I would probably make 
something of a man. Why, when I went out to Illi- 
nois, poor and unknown, that man gave me the money 
to pay my way and keep me until I got a start. John 
L. Helm? O, yes, I know him. And I know what I 
owe to him- — I think I can fix his case.' 

" 'And then,' said Senator Mills, 'Lincoln went to 
a desk and wrote a few words. The bit of writing is 
treasured in the Helm household to this day. This is 
what the President wrote.' 

" 'I hereby pardon John L. Helm of Kentucky for 
all that he has ever done against the United States and 
all that he ever will do. 

" 'ABRAHAM LINCOLN.' " 



THE FOLLOWING WAS TOLD BY GENERAL 

SICKLES AT THE BANQUET OF THE 

LOYAL LEGION IN WASHINGTON 



"IT WAS on the fifth day of July, 1863, that I was 
brought to Washington on a stretcher from the 
field of Gettysburg. Hearing of my arrival President 
Lincoln came to my room and sat down by my bedside. 
He asked about the great battle, and when I told 



him of the terrible slaughter the tears streamed from 
his eyes. I asked him if he doubted the result. He 
said 'No.' Then he continued. 

'This may seem strange to you, but a few days ago, 
when the opposing armies were converging, I felt as 
never before my utter helplessness in the great crisis 
that was to come upon the country. I went into my 
own room and locked the door. Then I knelt down 
and prayed as I had never prayed before. I told God 
that He had called me to this position, that I had done 
all that I could do, and the result now was in his hands; 
that I felt my own weakness and lack of power, and 
that I knew that if the country was to be saved it was 
because He so willed it. When I went down from my 
room I felt that there could be no doubt of the issue. 
The burden seemed to have rolled off my shoulders, 
my intense anxiety was relieved, and in its place came 
a great sense of trustfulness, and that was why I did 
not doubt the result at Gettysburg. And what is 
more, "Sickles," ' he continued, 'I believe that we 
may hear at any moment of a great success by Grant, 
who has been pegging away at Vicksburg for so many 
months. By tomorrow you will hear that he has won 
a victory as important to us in the west as Gettysburg 
is in the east.' 

"Then, turning to me," he said' 'Sickles, I am in 
a prophetic mood today, and I know that you will get 
well.' 

"The doctors do not give me that hope, Mr. Presi- 
dent," I said, but he answered cheerfully, 'I know you 
will get well, "Sickles." ' 

With Compliments of 
SAMUEL HARRIS & CO. 

Machinists' and Manufacturers' 

Tools and Supplies. 
114 North Clinton St., Chicago. 

THE HENNEBERRY company. PRINTERS, CHICAGO 



him of the terrible slaughter the tears streamed from 
his eyes. I asked him if he doubted the result. He 
said *No.' Then he continued. 

'This may seem strange to you, but a few days ago, 
when the opposing armies were converging, I felt as 
never before my utter helplessness in the great crisis 
that was to come upon the country. I went into my 
own room and locked the door. Then I knelt down 
and prayed as I had never prayed before. I told God 
that He had called me to this position, that I had done 
all that I could do, and the result now was in his hands; 
that I felt my own weakness and lack of power, and 
that I knew that if the country was to be saved it was 
because He so willed it. When I went down from my 
room I felt that there could be no doubt of the issue. 
The burden seemed to have rolled off my shoulders, 
my intense anxiety was relieved, and in its place came 
a great sense of trustfulness, and that was why I did 
not doubt the result at Gettysburg. And what is 
more, "Sickles," ' he continued, *I believe that we 
may hear at any moment of a great success by Grant, 
who has been pegging away at Vicksburg for so many 
months. By tomorrow you will hear that he has won 
a victory as important to us in the west as Gettysburg 
is in the east.' 

"Then, turning to me," he said* 'Sickles, I am in 
a prophetic mood today, and I know that you will get 
well.' 

"The doctors do not give me that hope, Mr. Presi- 
dent," I said, but he answered cheerfully, 'I know you 
will get well, "Sickles." ' 

With Compliments of 
SAMUEL HARRIS & CO. 

Machinists' and Manufacturers' 

Tools and Supplies. 
114 North Clinton St., Chicago. 

The Henneberry company. Printers. Chicago